Or Episode 3 ‘things keep escalating in Gotham.’
Lets just start by saying New World Order proves the quality of gameplay in Telltale Batman gets better with each episode. I feel like the game has really begun to push against the player when it comes to decision making. I finished this episode realising I had been leaning forward from my seat the entire time completely engrossed. Which I don’t believe is good for the back but hey, I can blame Telltale for any problems. I hope the fourth episode Guardian of Gotham continues this streak or even trumps the third episode. There is this unfortunate problem I have when I find the episode series peaks and then the next few episodes are kind of meh. Hopefully it doesn’t happen here.
There will be spoilers during this review, so if you don’t particularly mind them, continue reading. For the past two reviews, I’ve hoping for some form of pay-off on my decisions. I believe New World Order delivered this.
The episode begins right after the events the second episode with Bruce visiting Harvey in hospital. Now, I decided to save Harvey over Selina hoping to prevent Two-Face from happening. Instead of a physically altered face, Harvey’s mind begins to fraction bringing forth the hints of Two-Face. Which made my decision from the last episode pretty much moot. If people chose to save Catwoman over Harvey, he is understandably a bit more bitter, having fully embraced his alternate personality.
In one playthrough, I invested a lot of time in making sure Harvey was saved, in the other I tried to balance saving both Catwoman and Harvey which still had the latter going down the root of villianary. I suppose the lack of consequence in one playthrough doesn’t make it stick out as much if the player tries to side with one person in particular.
Things begin to escalate further as the Children of Arkham have found a way to improve their chemical weapon which places the whole of Gotham in danger. The tension is mounted as Bruce begins to lose control of his life, outed by his own company. It has a ripple effect on Batman as Gotham’s dark knight must try to save the city trying to destroy his counterpart. Oswald Cobblepot prove the Children of Arkham are not only trying to obliterate the city through terrorism but also politically as Penguin steps as acting CEO once Bruce is deposed.
I have never felt so pushed in a game before questioning all the decisions I have made up until now. Although I am enjoy the reinvention of the characters and their personalities, I find it very difficult to decide who to side with. No matter what I do to bend over backwards to help people as Bruce or Batman, they seem quite reluctant to do help me out in return. The only people I’m truly onboard with is Alfred and Lucius who don’t go ‘screw you Bruce for making a vague off-hand comment which now makes me hate you.’ I really want a dialogue option which says ‘Maybe I’ll just do this on my own because you all suck. Why? Because I’m Batman!’.
I don’t know about anyone else but I do enjoy a game which does have the player tethering on the edge of frustration. If it is just all out frustration then I get annoyed and don’t want to continue playing. It really puts you through the paces which New World Order has done with the way the characters interact with one another. Yes, I got annoyed when no one seemed to be in Bruces Corner but I wanted to know how the story would continue.
Ok, in the next few paragraphs, I will discussing a major spoiler, so if you don’t want to know it, click off the article.
Still with me? Good. Let’s continue.
When Vicki Vale turns out to be the villain, I will not lie, I was truly surprised. As in my brain shut down for second to process the news before swearing very loudly. It made me question how I interacted with her in the previous episodes. The game really lured me in believing she was an ally before really messing Bruce up. I really felt this was a rug pull from under the feet of those familiar with the comics, a ‘screw you and expectations of characters’ personally delivered by the writers. Hell if I didn’t love it though.
This is a complete reworking of Vicki’s traditional character portrayal as she is usually seen as a damsel in distress for Batman to save. The writers have really made me as a player second guess my knowledge of Batman whilst simultaneously regret my ingame life decisions. Vicki Vale aka Lady Arkham is new character who can hold their own against Batman whilst taking him to the edge of despair. The only villain I think has done that is the Joker, whom I am glad has been omitted from this series. Vicki has taken an active role in taking down both Bruce and the Batman and currently appears to be succeeding. I can not wait to find out how she pulled this off and why she is doing this. In any case, the moral of the story is always trust Jim Gordon.
I truly believe New World Order balances an enticing storyline and great action which has left me on the edge of my seat. It’s a brilliant development in the new universe set up in which Bruce has been left stranded and betrayed by those who once called themselves friend. The player shares in the same isolation Bruce is experiencing whilst trying to stop his life from falling apart.
Having thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the Telltale series, I hope the fourth episode will raise to the occasion and have me stunned once again. #alfredandluciusarebrucesbestbros.